Bob Graham and Chris Greenwood are both co-founders from Vancouver, Canada where they both brought Form Circle to life, the most innovative way to organize your forms and applications. The company was incorporated in January 11th, 2015. Though it is still pretty new in the market, it is already in its Beta stage with well over 100 users.
“Do not try to build everything right away” – Chris Greenwood
Tell us about yourselves:
Chris: I grew up in Vancouver and went to school at the University of Victoria, but didn’t finish. I am a developer (self-taught) where I just learned a lot through Google. I’ve been a serial entrepreneur for about 5 to 7 years and currently working at Light House Labs.
Bob: I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in UBC Okanagan. I run Airwaves Music DJs, which is Canada’s largest music company for weddings and events with DJs in twelve different cities. There was a constant problem in the company where we were always reminding people to send in the paperwork for their wedding at least 30 days before their event and I thought, ‘If it’s a problem for me then it’s a problem for other people.’
Why did you sign up for FounderDating?
Bob: I heard about FD through a friend of mine, Anuj, who was running much of UBC entrepreneurship activities at the time. I signed up just because it was something with entrepreneurs and my business is very traditional. I wanted to see if I can find a technical cofounder to start something online.
Chris: I think I just searched for entrepreneurial platforms in Google and FD was one of them that popped up. I wanted to try something and just decided to sign up for different entrepreneurial platforms.
How was your “dating process” like?
Bob: We talked for quite a bit I thought.
Chris: Yeah, we talked quite a bit, for about a month before actually building anything. Initially, we just bounced ideas around. We didn’t quite agree at first and weren’t exactly on the same page. But after a month of meeting, we realized that we really enjoyed working together and the process and were excited to get started.
Bob: I believe one of the reasons why Chris was excited was that I had an idea and showed progress. I had already started talking to people in my company and people from FD to build my market. During the first month with Chris, we mainly focused on strategies to scale the customer development rather than turning this into a full-blown CRM project. We wanted to make this into a MVP and eventually get feedback from potential clients. Is that what you thought Chris?
Chris: Yeah definitely. From my perspective, what sold me on and made me really respect him were that he already had been successful with his own business and he really showcased his salesmanship through his ability to sell me onto this project. I was very skeptical and hesitant at first but the fact that he was able to sell me on it means he can definitely take this skill and sell others.
What is Form Circle?
Bob: Form Circle is in its first MVP stage right now. It allows you to create your own forms and send it to anyone with an assigned due date. It also allows you to track each user’s progress. For example, if you send a form with 100 questions to 1000 thousand people, you can see on your end that there are currently 30 people that completed, 25 people only finished 30% of it, and the rest did not even start.
Chris: It is similar to Wufoo but we have a focus for deadlines and goals. This revolves more to the business to client relationship.
How are you so sure of your company? How do you compare to your competitors?
Bob: Through personal experience, it was a problem that always existed in my company. Other competitors like Survey Monkey, Form Stacking, or Wufoo did not provide me with the solution I needed. Basically, where their services were designed around form creation, but I needed the ability to manage forms for event management. I had all this paperwork I needed filled in by a specific date and I needed to be able to see, at a glance if it was going to be completed or not. All of those other software providers did not serve the same purpose that I needed to solve my problem. I spent over 2 years researching and looking for a solution and decided we should build out Form Circle.
How far along is Form Circle?
Chris: We’re currently in the Beta stage. We are in the state where people can actually use it and get results but we are getting feedback and constantly improving.
Bob: I also already know some potential investors but I want to grow the company before diving into this route. I wanted to have something that I am satisfied with before presenting it to others. I’d feel irresponsible if I didn’t so that first.
What are some challenges and rewards you’ve encountered?
Bob: Our main goal is to grow the number of users we have and ensure that we have people who are continually returning to the site. We want people who are finding a high level of value in the site. In terms of rewards, I’m really proud that I get to see Form Circle built and I’m already using it daily at my business. I use it for many different things that I never thought I would such as pre-interview surveys, reference checks, job applications, employee reviews etc. It’s an incredibly powerful, simple tool.
What is a piece of advice you would give to other entrepreneurs?
Chris: For developers, because they like to code things and just put their heads down, my suggestion would be do not try to build everything right away. You actually need to take time out to pre-validate your thoughts. As for non-technical founders, the best way to sell developers is to show hard data like Bob did as to why people need a product.
Bob: What I have learned the most through working with Chris, is that an idea alone won’t cut it, you also have to pre-validate your problems. I’ve gained a lot of respect for Chris because he takes time to narrow down on that. He focusses on validating customer problems and creating goals around that rather than just building out any idea that comes to him.
What does “entrepreneurship” mean to you?
Bob: Good entrepreneurs create things that people want.
Chris: Entrepreneurship equals a lot of freedom; freedom to choose what you bring to the world.